Going Through An Unfair Divorce?

unfair divorce

By Jackie Pilossoph, Creator and Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling site, podcast and app, Love Essentially columnist and author

Ever have one of those days when everything seems totally unfair? Of course you have if you are going through a divorce. Let’s talk about an unfair divorce.


I talked to a woman recently who has a full time job and is struggling to pay her bills. Her ex has not paid child support (which was court ordered) for over a year, and she is spending money on attorneys to retrieve the money, meanwhile eating into what she might eventually collect through a judge’s ruling. And, she knows her ex’s salary. In other words, it’s not that he can’t afford to pay it, he just knows he can get away with NOT paying it, because he is banking on the fact that she will give up because of the legal bills.


On the flip side, how about if you are the one having to pay the child support and you feel you got an unfair ruling? Maybe you have to pay what your state requires, but you have the kids most of the time. That unfairness could drive someone crazy.



An unfair divorce can cause frustration that at times is almost unbearable, leading to anger, bitterness and unhappiness. So, do you become the bitter, angry ex who tells everyone how unfair your divorce is? How your ex just got a brand new Cadillac and Bears season tickets, and you are working three jobs and still can’t pay all your bills? Or, (for the person paying the child support) that your ex is sitting on his/her butt not working and living off of you?


Guess what? Newsflash. An unfair divorce isn’t that unusual. Divorce IS unfair and most people think they are getting screwed all the time, no matter what the settlement was.


So, here are 7 pieces of advice for your unfair divorce:


1. Stop calling your friends and family and telling them about how much your ex is screwing you.

Remember that the people you are venting to might have a worse situation than you do. Maybe you saying “I have no money” might be more money than they have. Remember that your friends and family DO care about you, they just don’t want to hear ever detail of your divorce and how much you hate your ex.



2. Try not to be petty.

Are you going to go to court over $50 bucks a month? Ask yourself if what you are angry about will really make a difference in your life.



3. Remember that you ex has to live with himself/herself.

If your unfair divorce involves your ex cheating you out of what you were awarded in court, he/she is very aware of that. Deep down, they have to look at themselves in the mirror and think, “I am paying less to my children than I agreed to in front of the judge. I then bullied my ex-wife into not taking action. I am a piece of shit.”

Try living with that. Guess what? You don’t have to, but your ex does. On the flip side, if someone is dependent on the child support to live, decides not to get a job and contribute, but rather to take advantage of their ex, then shame on him/her. They also know they are a shit.


4. Increase your own income.

The time you are spending dwelling on the fact that you got screwed could be spent so much more productively by looking for more opportunities to increase your own income. This way, your unfair divorce won’t seem so bad. Wouldn’t it be nice if someday your child support check made no difference in covering your monthly expenses? i.e. you didn’t even need it?? Or, if the child support check you had to give your ex didn’t really make a difference? Keep persevering and that will become more and more of a reality.


10 Big Divorce Mistakes You Really Don’t Want to Make


5. Have gratitude.

Forget about what you don’t have and focus on what you have! You are beautiful, you have HEALTHY kids, you have YOUR HEALTH, you have amazing friends and family, and maybe a guy/girl you’re nuts about. That’s pretty awesome. Could you use more money? Absolutely. Who couldn’t? But if you feel grateful for what you have, it changes your attitude and your overall quality of life.


6. Remember that you are better off now than you were in the marriage.

Do you have amnesia? Are you forgetting about the non-working marriage that you are now out of?? Even if you feel he/she is robbing you blind, at least you don’t have to live with the person anymore. Aren’t you better off now? Focus on that instead of the current situation.


7. Calling your attorney will cost you.

When people get angry, sometimes their first instinct is to call their lawyer. Bad idea. Why? At $400 an hour, just calling to complain for a few minutes will cost you $125. That’s a really nice night out or a massage or a hair cut at a nice hair salon.

Think before you dial, ‘Will this help my situation? Or should I just call my sister or best friend to vent and then be done with it?’ Maybe bring it up to a therapist? Or maybe journal how I’m feeling. Or, maybe go workout. These are all better and less expensive ways to vent.


An unfair divorce can be maddeningly frustrating. Everyone (both men and women) have been there. And, feeling cheated, either by your ex or by a court’s decision is very difficult. It burns inside you. It feels unjust and cruel.


I am not comparing murder to child support, but think about this. Can you even imagine how Ron Goldman’s family felt after the O.J. trial? It’s hard to even fathom injustice like that. I’m not sure I could handle my loved one getting murdered and then having the killer found not guilty. But the Goldman’s survived. And they fought. And they won in the end. It took years and years but it happened.


Bridging the Gap Between Conflict and Resolution


In an unfair divorce, you might never see justice, and you might always feel like you got screwed. But, the key to happiness is letting it go, focusing on all the other wonderful aspects of your life, and controlling what you can: how you live your life, your professional life, who you spend time with, how you raise your kids, and things you choose to do to be happy.


I’m not saying you shouldn’t fight an unfair divorce, but rather that you need to weigh your options carefully. If you’re not leaving too much money on the table, it might be better to let it go. That said, the right choice might be to take legal action and keep trying. Only you can decide what is right, and sometimes it seems like there are no good options. But, eventually, the answers will come to you. Just be SMART, not emotional.



If you do let it go, remember that people who cheat people have to live with the truth inside of them, and they have to deal with God at the end of the day. Let your ex and God take care of that. You take care of your kids and yourself. Your job is happiness. End of story. And dwelling on your unfair divorce won’t bring you that, will it?

Like this article? Check out “20 Things I Wish I Could Have Told My Newly Separated Self”



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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorced Girl Smiling is here to empower, connect and inspire you. Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling, the site, the podcast and the app. A former television journalist and newspaper features reporter, Pilossoph is also the author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

4 Responses to “Going Through An Unfair Divorce?”

  1. Moe

    Yes, you are right!I am getting a very short end of the stick in my divorce. After 30 + years of being an at home mom raising three kids, two with disabilities, the soon to Be ex is walking with inheritance, pension, and 70% base pay plus commissions and hiding side jobs getting paid cash. He lied to judge and his atty. and my atty is doing nothing to hold him in court contempt. All costing me extra money I can’t afford, in which she will not go after him for. I am lookomg for a women’s advocate group that knows the creative legal ways to help women in this situation Before I’m divorced and it’s too late. And a group that doesn’t charge an arm and a leg but is tru tomtheir word, and not tell you one thing to get you to hire them, but change their story incentive you’re in. Any help you can refer me to? Too many women like me, older, getting screwed, looking to end up in poverty while their ex walks off living a higher standard of living .

  2. Rob Tai

    Unfairness can go both ways.
    After my wife evicted me (for another man), to increase my income, I took a job in a high risk country, and at the time of our Financial Order (ten years later), my salary reflected my risky job. My ex-wife, a highly qualified lawyer had given up law, had retrained as a hypnotherapist, and her business was slow. The Court made the financial 50/50 split based on these different levels of income, and used the equity in the properties to balance the money split.
    The Court didn’t take into consideration how much either of us had contributed since the separation. I voluntarily paid all of both our son’s upkeep, and sometimes I paid money to my ex. I also paid her double to manage my properties, and she took most of the rental income, in one way of the other.
    Because of her low income, she also collected Child Support from the Government, before our sons moved out, and even when the kids were at home, she refused to find a job, claiming she had to take the kids to school. The school was five-minutes’ walk away. By law I also had to pay for her legal fees.
    In Court, it was “agreed” the properties with the most equity went to her, and I had the two properties with the least equity. She sold two properties, and paid off the mortgage on her home. My job became too dangerous, and I resigned and came home. I now don’t have an income, and live in one property, and one of our sons, who also doesn’t have an income, is living in the other property, and I support him. Furthermore, it’s not worth selling these properties because there is no equity in them.
    All I could do was accept this “agreement”, because, if I had contested it, there would have been a full contested trial, taking even longer, and I would have to pay both of our legal fees, an additional $50,000, on top of $200,000, I had already paid, and I might still have not done any better.
    BTW. Everyone, including her said I had done nothing wrong. No big surprise divorce is one of the leading causes of suicide in men.

  3. Wayne Stratton

    Pro se defense contested divorce. Wife stole money from my accounts for 6 years. Stole my identity to ruin my credit. Said she filed my taxes last 6 years. Didn’t file 3 years. Judgement was in favor of wife. Wife lied to court about income. She makes 2 times what she signed an affidavit. On divorce papers she said the marriage has been over since 2016. I bought a house for us in 2018. I had 2 quit a job of ten years. Had double knee replacement. Never had any pre trial hearings. Wife got house in judgement. Took all the money. Judge wouldn’t give support. Wife makes 75k.


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